British Airways Rolls Out Self-service Boarding Gates at LAX
British Airways is now investing in new, self-service biometric boarding gates, first put into use at Los Angeles International Airport, in an effort to make the boarding process smoother. The experimental trial follows JetBlue's introduction of self-service gates at Boston Logan airport, and Delta's facial-recognition bag drop test in Minneapolis.
The self-service gate technology eliminates the need for passengers to show their boarding pass or passport after passing through security. When passengers arrive at the gate, they show their face to a camera, wait for their biometric data to be verified, and then walk onto the plane.
“We’re investing in the most advanced technology that will enable us to streamline our boarding process and further improve our punctuality,” said Carolina Martinoli, British Airways' director of brand and customer experience, in a statement. British Airways also uses this technology on its domestic flights at London Heathrow Airport.
These gates basically use the same facial-recognition technology that’s used in phones: high-definition cameras to read a person’s facial features to determine their identity.
“[Biometric technology] delivers a convenient, reliable and secure experience,” said BA's Martinoli.
While the technology aims to improve the air travel experience, not everyone is happy with the idea of scanning passengers' faces. Two senators, Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), this week urged the Department of Homeland Security to end a program at nine airports that scans departing international travelers. However, within the airline industry, the use of biometric technology has been lauded as the future.
“We have been very impressed with the results thus far, and love to see the passengers’ excitement at being some of the first in the world to use facial recognition to board British Airways flights from LAX to Heathrow,” Los Angeles World Airports Chief Innovation and Technology Officer Justin Erbacci said.